The hottest days and the wettest days of the year were yet to come but I was treated with a stunning July sunset as I returned to the boat.
What made the ride notable was the number of flying insects. There were many more than I had come across in recent years. Maybe it was the different farm land of Leicestershire, or unusual weather, whatever it was I was reminded to keep my teeth clenched to filter them out.
Having joined the Soar it did not appear to be much different from canal cruising at first. However I had a rude awakening when pushing the boat out at a lock and stepping on I quickly realised it was caught by wind and current and was heading out towards the weir.I had to promptly step off and rope her in prior to starting in a more careful and somewhat abashed attitude.
Apparently the river Soar has a tendency to rise to flood quickly then fall again and this can leave the unwary boater aground on a meadow. Fortunately for me it was not in flood and the going over the next few days was not technical as I passed through the city of Leicester, famous as a dye capital, then the sleepy meadows north of the town finally emerging at the Tent.
Now I am used to being able to find somewhere to turn my 41 foot boat somewhere locally on the canals, without too much trouble. In some places I have been able to step onto one side of the boat and off the other to cross a lock. And of course in many places in the canals if you fall in you just stand up and wade to the side.
Although I had seen the Trent from its bank to be on it was initially an unnerving and exciting experience. One that had me grabbing my life jacket and ensuring that there was nothing that I could trip over. I did not want to end up treading water whilst seeing the back end of Gentle Breeze disappearing into the distance.
The Trent is big, GB is small and felt very vulnerable.
The lyrics of one Christian song include the verse
Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift or firm remain?
I was thinking that my anchor would not even reach the river bed let alone hold if the engine packed in. But there again perhaps I was worrying over nothing, at any rate I didn’t mention these thoughts to the two in-laws that I took for a short cruise on the river.
The navigators built several cuts to ensure that goods could be transported along the Trent during most conditions. One of these cuts runs right through Nottingham and alongside the canal are buildings still emblazoned with the names of famous canal carrying companies.
July finished with some scorching days and it was with reluctance hat I had to begin the journey back south after too short a time spent cruising with my brother and wife in their boat, which seemed altogether better suited to this expanse of water,